Diner's agony as girlfriend chokes to death on lamb starter from Royal Balti House in Farnworth
A WOMAN died after choking on a piece of lamb during a night out with her partner at an Indian restaurant.
Helen Peploe, aged 56, was at The Royal Balti House in Farnworth with her boyfriend, Neil Whitcher, on Friday, July 5, when she choked on a piece of her lamb starter and died in hospital three days later, having never come round.
Mr Whitcher, aged 50, made desperate attempts to save her life, both at the table and then in the restaurant toilets.
Mr Whitcher, who lives in Little Lever, and Miss Peploe, who lived in Wigan Road, Deane, were enjoying their meal when Miss Peploe started to choke on the lamb chop starter.
“I had tried to cut a piece of the meat, then when I put it in my mouth I realised it was all fat and gristle. I told Helen, who tried a piece and agreed with me, tried to spit it out but it slipped down her throat,” he said.
CCTV footage was played at the inquest showing Mr Whitcher trying to help a clearly distressed Miss Peploe, who had vomited at the table.
“I was saying to Helen ‘cough it up, cough it up’,” he said. Mr Whitcher, who has first aid training, attempted to dislodge the meat by hitting Miss Peploe on her back and then, after guiding her upstairs to the ladies’ toilet, attempted to perform the Heimlich manoeuvre but could not get her into the correct position.
Mr Whitcher said he was told by a member of staff to take Miss Peploe upstairs to the toilet as she was distressing other guests — there were two other occupied tables in the restaurant — but Mr Bhuiyan said that Mr Whitcher had not been ordered upstairs.
While Mr Whitcher was upstairs with Miss Peploe, a member of staff came to see them and Mr Whitcher asked him to call the emergency services. He was then talked through emergency medical treatment.
Mr Whitcher said he had told Miss Peploe the food at the restaurant was “to die for” after having an enjoyable meal there on a previous occasion.
Miss Peploe was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital, where she was put into an induced coma, but on Monday, July 8, following a brain function test, it was decided her life-support machine should be switched off.
Pathologist Dr Patrick Waugh said Miss Peploe died from asphyxiation, and assistant coroner Alison Mulch recorded an accidental death verdict.
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